Nā Pua Noʻeau: Ma Uka a i Kai Kupulau

Text and photos by Malia Chun

For the next 5 months, ʻōpio from the moku of Puna will be taking part in a once a month, residential program where they will be engaged in Hawaiian cultural enrichment and STEAM hands-on, educational activities. Some of these activities include; learning the historical and archaeological significance of Alakoko, Hūleʻia and surrounding ahupuaʻa, water quality testing, mapping the geography and topography of Alakoko, learning fishpond dynamics and maintenance, mālama ʻāina: eradicating invasive and planting natives and learning about the importance maintaining a healthy and productive mauka to makai aquifer. If you have a teenager that is interested in registering for this amazing learning opportunity, contact NPN at 808-245-8287.

Pictures from the first Kupulau Camp, Jan 19-20:


Our machine crew, led by Bryan Vallet, is doing quick work in taking down the mangrove around Alakoko Fishpond. Today the excavator operated by Georges Parks broke through to the pond. This is a milestone accomplishment.

Other members of our machine crew are Skylar Smith, Brock Struthers, Howard Fox, and Chuck Hayes.

The Breakthrough
View of Alakoko from the Excavator

Meanwhile, the Menehune are nearing the first break in the wall of the fishpond, where there is also a break in the mangrove. They expect to reach the water there in one or two more workdays.

Work in Progress

We have a community work day this Saturday, January 26, 2019. Come and help us clear the invasive red mangrove from the historical Alakoko Fishpond. Come prepared for sun and mud, and lots of aloha.

New Board Directors and Officers

On January 15, 2019, the Malama Huleia Board of Directors was joined by Ruby Papp and Chris Kauwe. These new Directors replaced Pepe Trask and Steve Yee, two founding members of the organization when it was part of the Kaiola Canoe Club. Congratulations to the new Directors Ruby and Chrys, and Mahalo to outgoing Pepe and Steve.

Board of Directors and Staff: (from left) Ruby Papp, Bryan Vallet (Volunteer Foreman) Laverne Bishop, Emory Griffin-Noyes, Lee Evslin, Chris Kauwe, Mason Chock, Jan Tenbruggencate, Peleke Flores (Field Ops Mgr), Sara Bowen (Exec Director)

In the January Board of Directors meeting the following officers were also reelected:

  • Mason Chock, President
  • Lee Evslin, Vice President
  • Luke Evslin, Treasurer
  • Sabra Kauka, Secretary

Making Inroads

Serious progress is being made at Alakoko. The mangrove removal continues on two fronts.

A volunteer group of workers (Menehune) is manually cutting away the mangrove from the archaeologically sensitive area along the fishpond wall. By diligently working every Tuesday and Thursday mornings, they have covered approximately 20,000 square feet and are rapidly approaching the first break in the wall.

Mark and Peleke at work with polesaws.
Piles of mangrove cut by the Menehune.

The second effort, which involves the use of heavy equipment, began with preparatory improvements to the entry road to Alakoko and the clearing of a staging area to be used for stock piling logs and chipping the mangrove. This effort has now progressed to clearing a path around the backside of the fishpond.

Serious progress being made by these machines.
Mangrove removal on two fronts.

Progress at Alakoko

After years of planning, permitting and securing funding we are excited about the progress being made at Alakoko. In September we had an ahu ceremony to set our intentions and path forward. We are now moving ahead with the mangrove removal project at Alakoko, which will be a big step forward in clearing the invasive species from the Huleia watershed.

Ahu Building

In October we had a ground breaking community workday and celebration.

community celeb0-Luke

Since then we have cut nearly 17,000 square feet of mangrove.

Work in Progress

Today (December 19, 2018), we have mechanized help to clear the stockpile area where the cut mangrove will be piled. Once that stockpile area is filled the Kauai Green Energy Company will haul it and turn it into renewable energy.

We are happy to be moving forward and are grateful for the community support in the work we are doing. We have set the community workdays for the 4th Saturday’s of each month in 2019. Watch for details on how to sign up to participate in the New Year.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year ahead!

Welcome to Mālama Hulē‘ia


Mālama Hulē‘ia is a voluntary non-profit organization dedicated to improving key parts of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed on Kaua‘i by eliminating an alien and highly invasive plant species. This invasive plant – red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) – is attacking some of our most valuable assets in the watershed. Over the last 50 years, red mangrove has been changing native wildlife habitats in and along the Hulē‘ia River and destroying the Alekoko Fish Pond. We are working for a future when all of the red mangrove will be gone and all of our ‘ainakumuwai (watershed) can be made as productive as it once was.

This web site provides information about the Mālama Hulē‘ia organization, our history, motives, knowledge base, current projects and activities, and our vision for the future. If you agree with what we are doing, we welcome you to participate in and share our journey. Please visit our How to Help page. Mahalo.